How Does Toni Kroos Transfer Help Real Madrid's La Liga Title Quest?

Rik SharmaFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2014

Kroos will be battling with Messi once more.
Kroos will be battling with Messi once more.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Toni Kroos isn't the only piece of the jigsaw puzzle Real Madrid were missing last season, but he is a key one.

His long-awaited signing was announced by the club this morning on their official website.

The German was an important component in the World Cup-winning side that took Brazil by storm this summer.

While he wasn't at his best in the final itself, Kroos still played his part.

His best performance came in the 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semi-final, in which he struck twice, including one belting, swerving effort from the edge of the box.

Kroos' eye for goal isn't even the aspect of his play that will impress Madridistas the most.

Kroos celebrates his World Cup win.
Kroos celebrates his World Cup win.Fabrizio Bensch/Associated Press

Instead, it's his silky passing and touch combined with a work rate similar to Chelsea's Oscar.

The pair are similar in many respects, both No. 10 figures but able to play much farther back.

He appeared for Bayern Munich mostly as a central midfielder, which is where he could feature for Real Madrid, particularly at the Santiago Bernabeu.

When Madrid are at home against inferior opposition, they will be happy to field Kroos and Luka Modric as the "2" in a 4-2-3-1 or as the deepest two midfielders in the usual 4-3-3.

In away matches, we may see Xabi Alonso paired with Modric in centre midfield, with Kroos elevated to a more attacking position.

If Real Madrid sell Angel Di Maria with Kroos as his replacement, it could open up a door for Isco.

Because Kroos is able to play farther back, the young Spaniard may get a chance to pull the strings behind Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kroos was important at Bayern Munich.
Kroos was important at Bayern Munich.Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Writing for talkSPORT, Lee Roden noted that Kroos' arrival should help Real Madrid's midfield in general, and Asier Illarramendi in particular:

The addition of Kroos alongside Modric will free the deepest player in the midfield three from the need to produce the same dynamic range of passing as Alonso has in the role, and with that necessity gone, Illarramendi's conditions are perfect to fill the third slot. The 24-year-old will only be able to do that if he can recover his confidence: something that should pay off in spades for Madrid’s defensive solidity if manager Carlo Ancelotti can meet the challenge.

Opportunities were limited last season, but manager Carlo Ancelotti knows he has a rare talent in Isco.

Kroos' passing is strong, and even if he plays behind another playmaker, you can expect him to rack up assists with long, raking balls to speed merchants Ronaldo and Bale.

It means Alonso, 33 in November, won't be missed and can be kept for the bigger matches.

"This is a very young player but one with an incredible honours list,” Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said, per Ed Aarons of The Guardian. “We weren’t surprised by his performances during the World Cup, they were just confirmation that we had chosen the right player.”

Madrid still need to strengthen other positions. They have been linked with goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who starred for Costa Rica in the World Cup and who would be a useful addition.

There is an argument that they should sign a more clinical striker than Benzema, with Radamel Falcao touted.

The way Kroos linked with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben last season will not have been lost on Ancelotti.

Real will hope to be celebrating the league title like this.
Real will hope to be celebrating the league title like this.Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Arguably, Madrid should sign an actual defensive midfielder, with Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba of Juventus both interesting options.

Ancelotti will believe that the German can squeeze even more out of Bale and Ronaldo than they have already been able to provide.

While Manchester United were linked with Kroos, it would have been a bad career move for him to step out of the Champions League.

His performances at the World Cup and in the Champions League last season for Bayern Munich show that he can perform at the highest level.

He may be able to help Real Madrid earn the La Liga title.